Women are almost twice as likely to experience anxiety as men
The study shows that women and adults of both sexes under the age of 35 are at the greatest risk of suffering from anxiety. Women are the biggest worriers, according to new research.
Overall, women are almost twice as likely to experience anxiety as men, according to a review of of previous research by Cambridge University scuentists.
The review, published in the journal Brain and Behaviour, also highlighted how anxiety disorders often provide a double burden on people experiencing other health-related problems – such as heart disease, cancer and even pregnancy.
Anxiety disorders, which often manifest as excessive worry, fear and a tendency to avoid potentially stressful situations – including social gatherings, are some of the most common mental health problems in the Western world.
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Study first author Olivia Remes, a PhD student at the Cambridge Institute of Public Health, said: “Anxiety disorders can make life extremely difficult for some people and it is important for our health services to understand how common they are and which groups of people are at greatest risk.
“By collecting all these data together, we see that these disorders are common across all groups, but women and young people are disproportionately affected.
“People who have a chronic health condition are at a particular risk, adding a double burden on their lives.”
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) was found to be a problem in pregnant women and in the period immediately after birth.
Only one in 100 of the general population are affected by OCD, but the proportion with the disorder was double in pregnant women and slightly higher in women who have recently given birth.
Dr Louise Lafortune, senior research associate at the Cambridge Institute of Public Health, said: “Anxiety disorders affect a lot of people and can lead to impairment, disability, and risk of suicide.
“Although many groups have examined this important topic, significant gaps in research remain.”